Speech is not free if the government allows corporations to do its suppressive dirty work. When speech is systematically stifled by suspensions, warnings, firings or rebukes, it is functionally as effective as an arrest. Continue ReadingRead More »
When American Christians say Jesus is the savior of prostitutes, druggies and thieves, I daresay this is not what they have in mind… Continue ReadingRead More »
And another Christmas is gone.
I have a vague memory of being at my Granny’s and PawPaw’s house on a Christmas day. We had driven over from my Nana’s and Granddaddy’s house, which was not unusual. We spent many a Christmas away from our own house. Continue ReadingRead More »
Whether or not a person recognizes the Christ-centered nature of Christmas, the virtuous ideals displayed during the season–generosity, love, peace, family, compassion, serving others–are a microcosm of the kingdom of God. Continue ReadingRead More »
And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David…
Luke’s Gospel, 2:4 (HCSB)
How things have changed since Joseph’s and Mary’s journey.Read More »
No, not the song about golden rings, true loves, and turtle doves. The history of the 12 days of Christmas.Today the 12 days are equated with a song about buying gifts, but it has not always been so. Nor do the 12 days of Christmas lead up to Christmas as is most commonly understood. Initially, the 12 days were a calendar bridge for the differing dates of the Christmas celebration, December 25 in the West vs January 6 in the East.
By the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized—and now also celebrated—as Jesus’ birthday: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor). The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6; for most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6 eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.
So there you have it. There is still time to organize your geese, french hens, leaping lords, milk maidens and the rest of it.Read More »
Readers of this blog know I have a burr under my saddle about chintzy tipping of restaurant wait staff. I asked another server today whether “Bad Christian Tippers” is a myth. He assured me it was real. “I’ve only been here two months,” he told me, “but at the restaurant where I worked before, [called the name of a prominent suburban Nashville restaurant], it was true. I didn’t even believe it when I started, but when I worked Sundays I found it to be true.”
I asked, “Where they just chintzy or were they rude, or some combination?” He replied, “Mostly just chintzy.”
“And they shall know you are my disciples by your chintzy tightfistedness.”
We have been tipping 20% or more on meals for a while. If we do not have enough for a good tip we either eat at home, take out pizza or pay a visit to Chick-Fil-A. Our position is, “A good tip is as much a part of the meal as is the food.”
This whole tipping thing got me thinking: when you can realistically tip less than 20%? While it is a standard we should studiously aim toward, here are ten circumstances when you can tip less than 20 percent and not feel guilty.
1. If he/she spits in your face for no reason. It is within the realm of possibility that your server takes offense at your face and spits on you for no reason. If so, you have permission not to tip 20%. If your criticism of their family, tattoos, heritage or other ignorance incited the spitting you still must tip 20%.
2. If he/she intentionally pours a scalding hot liquid on you. Accidents happen. While painful–even life threatening–unintentional spills are not reasons to lower or omit a tip. Even the most inept server hopes for a tip and will not purposely jeopardize it. If, however, he/she brings over a boiling cauldron of soup, smiles fiendishly and yells, “FIRE IN THE HOLE!!” before dumping it over you, you have permission not to tip 20%.
3. If he/she curses you out. In more than 30 years of eating out, I can count on one hand the number of times a server has even used a curse word in the course of our ordering or in general conversation. If, however, your server commences to turn the air purple with objectionable language directed toward you (because you left a chintzy tip, maybe?), you have permission not to tip 20%.
4. If he/she places your infant in the child seat upside down. This one was on the bubble. Not everyone knows which way is up, and not everyone has experience with infants. To cover the cost of comfort food in the eventuality some trauma is induced on your upended youngster, you have permission not to tip 20%.
5. If he/she has obviously placed hair (not a hair) in your food. A single stray hair can come from anywhere. This is not necessarily the fault of your server. If they return to the table missing the ponytail you see underneath your seasonal vegetables, you have permission not to tip 20%.
6. If he/she makes an overtly obvious pass for your significant other. “Wow, your wife is really attractive,” “Lady, your husband is turning heads in the kitchen,” and the like do not count. Compliments are rare and a heartfelt one should not be diminished. If upon your return from the restroom, you find your server on a knee with a rose in his mouth in front of your wife, you have permission not to tip 20%.
7. Your “rare” ordered steak arrives with the hide still attached. Admittedly this could be the fault of the chef or cook, but the server could slice off the leather and fur before bringing to the table. In this case you have permission not to tip 20%.
8. You get a mixed browns salad. Nothing worse than brown lettuce in a salad. Again, the server should not receive 100% of the blame as they do not buy the stuff. But in this case a good server would have let you know on the sly, “We are out of salad. Trust me, we just are.” Got served a mixed browns salad? You have permission not to tip 20%.
9. If your server makes less than 3 visits to your table. Under most service scenario three visits are required: one to introduce him/herself and take drink/appetizer orders, one to take the meal order, and one to bring the order or check to make sure the kitchen staff brought the order. Any less than 3 visits and it almost cannot count as having had a meal. If you do not get a meal, you have permission not to tip 20%.
10. If you server answers his/her cell phone during your order for any reason other than a family emergency, a game show lifeline, parole officer check-in, or confirmation of new housing. Those warrant no further explanation. If your server is under 18, check-in call from a parent is also allowed, but not a “check-up” call from a boyfriend/girlfriend. Anything else? You have permission not to tip 20%.
Now, tip big or stay home!Read More »
Followers of Jesus who comment on cultural issues: it is time to stop using the B-word. The B-word to which I refer is bestiality.
Part of the ongoing commentary on Phil Robertson’s GQ interview was an exchange I just watched on CNN. The opposing sides were held by Russell Moore of the ERLC and Michaelangelo Signorile from HuffPo’s Gay Voices. Early on the moderator brought up perhaps the most controversial of Phil Robertson’s comments which included a mention of bestiality. From the Phil Robertson GQ article:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Godwin’s Law has long been an Internet discussion axiom. The main practical take-away from Godwin’s law is if you invoke a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis you have lost the debate.
In public debate the word bestiality is the new Nazis. It indicates you have no serious argument and should not be given the time of day. Whether true or not is irrelevant; it has the reality. It is not a mic drop; it is an eye-roll.
I think it is time for followers of Jesus to stop using bestiality for moral comparisons in debate. Why?
Stop using the B-word because it creates too large an opportunity for distraction. You can make a cogent case against gay marriage, for instance, without using the B-word. If you use the B-word you will have the argument turned against you or shifted from the focus.
Stop using the B-word because there is no straight line between any single sin and bestiality. Neither smoking joints, adultery, homosexual activity, greed nor back-talking are specific gateway sins to bestiality.
Stop using the B-word because bestiality becomes it comes across as a sad scare tactic. Like Democrats and Social Security or Republicans and terrorism, invoking the B-word plays on fear rather than truth.
Stop using the B-word because there are plenty of more prevalent sins around to condemn.
Followers of Jesus we simply must be smarter. The Lord did say of His time, “The sons of this age are more astute than the sons of light in dealing with their own people” (Luke 16:8, HCSB). Can we just stop perpetuating the lack of astuteness Jesus witnessed? Perhaps not, but we can certainly try.Read More »
The big news from this morning was the GQ interview with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. In part of a very lengthy interview, Robertson uses rather straightforward language to describe his preferences as a heterosexual male. Part of this description includes reasons he is not a homosexual male. (Think body parts.)Frankly I find concern about that particular section to be absurd. What do people think gay men do, hold hands, give shoulder massages and kiss each other on the cheek? Salty, perhaps, but erroneous, no.
The truly problematic part for Robertson in today’s culture is that he
Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.
This led to the second huge Robertson news story of the day: his suspension by cable TV network A&E from Duck Dynasty tapings. Said the network:
We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.
Methinks A&E is protesting all the way to the bank. Suspend the star but not cancel the show?
How ironic a network that makes millions under the First Amendment guarantees, does not defend it for one of its biggest stars.
Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.
Whether Robertson’s words are “vile and extreme” are up for debate. But, his right to say them? Is that not protected?
The once upon a time guide to TV programming, now apparently a culture shaper, TV Guide could not so much as hide its disdain even in the title of its report: Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Spews Anti-Gay Comments in GQ Profile.
My question is where are the members of the LGBT community who still believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution? Does free speech only count during Pride weeks and Pride parades? Does the right to speak one’s mind only apply to defense of privacy and not to the opposition?
There is a First Amendment. It guarantees freedom of speech. There is a protected right to speak one’s mind, even when it goes against the prevailing thinking. Even when it goes against “tolerance.”
Does the LGBT community believe in the First Amendment for all Americans, or only those who believe like them? There have been many people who have fought and died in defense of the Constitution, in defense of the right of the LGBT community to do exactly what Phil Robertson and many others call “sin.” Many of these who fought and died believed exactly like Robertson. They died to protect the freedoms people with whom they agreed and disagreed.
Time will tell whether gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons fully support the First Amendment or merely pay it lip service. But for now, if you are out there, your voices are not being heard.
UPDATE 2: Comments are now closed.Read More »
In the spirit of the year-end season, here are the Top 13 posts at Kingdom in the Midst as determined by number of page views.
1. Did Starbucks’ Howard Schultz really say, “We don’t want your business?” (This one also had a lot of views when cross-posted at Christian Post.)
2. Schools, sex and degradation: losing the sacred (This one likely had the most shares in social media from Kingdom in the Midst.)
5. Depression: When the black dog howls (This post was, I believe, the most linked-to post of the year.)
8. Sex trafficking: One survivor’s story (This four part series was the most read series of the year.)
Thanks to everyone who read posts this year, commented and supported Kingdom in the Midst through advertising or Amazon purchases. Your participation in this journey is greatly appreciated!
Top 13 graphic by Christie Garrett.Read More »